3D Printing Careers

A Look at the Future of 3D Printing Degrees and Careers

If you love 3D printing as much as I do, you might be wondering, “How can I make this my job?” Many people wonder how they can turn their passion for this hobby into a well-paying job.

If that sounds like you, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve done the research to find the best degrees and careers related to 3D printing that you can do right now.

3D printing, technically “additive manufacturing” is a booming field. With jobs in the consumer space, healthcare, and even small businesses, you can turn your hobby into a job. Start with a degree in additive manufacturing from top institutions worldwide like Penn State, MIT, and Nottingham.

So, what are you looking for? A bachelor’s degree or master’s? Want to own a small business or work for an industry giant? With a specialization in 3D printing, you’ll have the power to choose the path you take.


Top 3D printing degree programs


While you might not need a degree in additive manufacturing to start your own 3D printing business, you’ll need one to be considered for top positions at established companies.

Fortunately, colleges and universities all over are launching new programs to fit the needs of those interested in the field.


Penn State University


Penn State is a top school in America for technology-based fields. Their new online Masters of Engineering in Additive Manufacturing and Design program is ready to jumpstart your career.

They focus on a variety of sectors that are beginning to use 3D printing including manufacturing, aerospace, healthcare, and more. The course also introduces students to rapid prototyping.


Nottingham University (U.K.)


Nottingham’s 1-year Masters of Additive Manufacturing and 3D printing is a unique program from a top university in the U.K. Due to the school’s high level of funding for research, students work with additive materials, metrology, and advanced manufacturing techniques. The groundbreaking technology at use is truly top-notch.




For those who don’t need the masters degree, MIT offers a 5 day intensive course that offers insight into the field of additive manufacturing. Students learn the basic techniques, materials, and operations as well as insights into many technologies like FDM, SLA, and SLS. They also get to boast that they studied at one of the most prestigious institutions in the world.


Best 3D printing careers


Once you have a degree or background in 3D printing, it’s time to turn it into some income. The flexibility that this technology offers is incredible. You can work from home or work in the headquarters of huge companies.

You can design custom figurines or life-saving medical devices and earn a living doing what you are already passionate about.


CAD modeling and 3D design


Before anything can be 3D printed, it must be modeled on the computer. This is perhaps the largest area for those interested in 3D printing to find a job.

There are millions of CAD designers needed to bring to life the designs of countless clients worldwide. These jobs range from custom designs for parts to wide-scale projects in the manufacturing world.

Alex English, owner of ProtoParadigm says, “I see a lot more demand for CAD and 3D modeling jobs on the horizon because of 3D printing.”


Biological modeling


From prosthetics to human organs, if you love biology and 3D printing then this is the field for you. 3D printing is quickly being adopted into the healthcare field as a legitimate way to treat complex conditions and better prepare practitioners to treat their patients.

This specialty helps create realistic heart models for surgeons to practice with, 3D print body parts, and design custom prosthetics that adapt to meet each patient’s needs. This is both a fulfilling and cutting-edge field that needs more help.


Legal professionals


If you have a background in law and have a passion for 3D printing, you might be able to blend the two together. With 3D printing technology becoming both more accessible and more widely used in business, it is easier for copyright infringements to occur.

Julie Matthews, a partner at Edwards Wildman law firm says, “As 3D printing technologies advance, new business models will emerge in which consumer products and their component parts can be copied, modified, juxtaposed with others, and produced almost anywhere.”

This will result in a need for more legal professionals who are knowledgeable about the 3D printing industry who can provide services in for lawsuits, licensing, and IP protection.


Business opportunity


One of the most exciting aspects of 3D printing as a career is that you can create literally anything. This includes your own company. Many high quality 3D Printers on the market cost just $2000-$3500.

Anyone with some money in their pocket and a passion for 3D printing can quickly turn this into a profit.

You can start your own small business fairly easily by providing local or remote custom 3D printing services. You’ll be working with clients to bring their dreams to life through 3D modeling and printing.

Work on your schedule and at home doing what you love.

If you don’t want to start your own business just yet, consider becoming a franchisee for an established company.

For example, UPS has recently launched a 3D-Printing-as-a-service franchise program to help make the technique mainstream.


The future is bright


If you don’t see a field you’re interested in yet, don’t worry. 3D printing is currently in a massive period of growth that shows no signs of slowing down in the years to come.

As time progresses, more and more fields will emerge and jobs that aren’t even being dreamed up yet will need filled. Continue pursing your 3D printing passion with a degree or by applying to that dream job.

You could be making money by doing one of your favorite things before you know it.